A friend of mine told me of her recent regretful
“I called my daughter’s dad to set up a trip
for her to visit him. And he made a couple
of comments about the cost of the flight and
the dates not working for him.
I was instantly mad.
To my credit, I knew what was happening at the time. But like a car whose brakes go out, I couldn’t stop the wreck. I started shouting my “extremely valid” points and making snarky remarks.
With neither of us wanting to deal with each other at that point—we hung up. It was an epic fail.”
Have you ever been in a situation like this? You were able to identify that you were feeling emotional… but felt helpless to stop it?
The great news is that when you learn (yes, it is a process) how to better manage your emotions by raising your “emotional intelligence,” things turn out MUCH better.
Read on to discover 4 compelling benefits from increasing your emotional intelligence (EQ).
“EQ has twice the power of IQ to predict performance [success]. EQ is also a better predictor than employee skill, knowledge, or expertise.” – Gerald Mount
What is Emotional Intelligence (and Why You Should Care)
Emotional intelligence (EQ), is a term coined by researcher Dan Goleman in 1996. It is the ability to be in tune with and positively influence your emotions and the emotions of those around you.
Here’s why this is important: According to SixSeconds…
To be successful in your career, you need technical skills… but you also need people-skills. Increasingly, companies are looking for talented people who can work WITH others, build great relationships with team members and customers, and lead themselves [emotionally]. These characteristics come from emotional intelligence.
EQ is one of those people skills that impact your ability to success at work and in life.
- 71% of employers say they value emotional intelligence over IQ. – Careerbuilder survey
- According to this survey that evaluated high performers, 7 out of the 10 factors that distinguish star managers were tied to emotional intelligence (and only 3 to technical skills and conventional intelligence).
An emotionally intelligent person not only recognizes the emotion they are personally feeling, but they are also able to put themselves in the shoes of the other person. They are able to tune into what the other person is feeling.
Here is a tidy definition. Emotional intelligence is the ability to:
- Recognize, understand and manage your own emotions
- Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others
Despite being able to tune-in to the emotions in and around them, high EQ people are able to set aside the various feelings (including their own) and proceed with accomplishing what they set out to despite the emotions swirling around them.
What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ — not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests. — Daniel Goleman
4 Benefits of Having More Emotional Intelligence
Let’s explore four ways increased emotional intelligence can improve your personal and professional life.
1. It’s easier to form and maintain relationships.
You know that guy at work who always gets cut off in meetings while trying to share his ideas? If you picked up on that, you’re already showing signs of being emotionally intelligent. You’re empathetic to his situation. You can tell he wants to be heard but can’t seem to get anyone to listen.
So, what can you do?
Speak up and say “Bill started to make a great point a minute ago. I’d love to hear what more of his thoughts on the topic.” Imagine how Bill will feel after you acknowledge him. Not to mention the positive thoughts running through everyone else’s mind.
“A leader can be very destructive or very inspiring. It comes down to their level of emotional intelligence.” – John Mackey
EQ helps you see what others need… and then help them get it. They’ll love you for it and so will everyone else.
2. It builds self-confidence.
You trust and have confidence in people when their actions match their words, right? So… do you trust YOURSELF? EQ can boost your self-confidence because it helps you follow-through on your intentions.
For instance, if you tell yourself…
- you will finish this project on time, or
- you’re going to be an ah-mazing public speaker who commands the attention of the room, or
- you will provide a valuable service that makes people’s lives easier
… emotional intelligence can help you follow-through.
How? EQ helps you be aware of and deal with the negative emotions that cause you to give up on your stated intentions. You are better able to recognize and address those thoughts for what they are… excuses.
As you continue moving forward and back those intentions up with your actions, your confidence will soar.
3. It helps you adapt to change.
When a family member tells you there’s going to be a change like they’re switching jobs, how do you take it? Do you freak out? Do you get scared? Mad?
Hey, it’s ok. Any emotion you might feel isn’t “wrong,” but it needs to be managed.
Emotionally intelligent people are able to identify the emotion they are feeling around change and why. Then they address the why.
For example, your ‘why’ could be that you’re scared your partner’s new job means they’ll be traveling more and you’ll be saddled with all the chores around the house and being the kids’ chauffer. Once you’ve identified the ‘why’, you can then directly address those concerns. Exposing the ‘why’ makes it easier to get on board with the change.
4. It makes for more productive problem-solving.
Remember my friend at the beginning of the story who had a meltdown with her daughter’s father? After stepping back from the situation and applying her EQ, she was able to re-engage her ex-husband… and actually solve the problem they faced.
Here’s how she did it: First, she recognized her own feelings of fear or frustration. Then, she empathized with her ex’s feelings of anxiety, confusion and other emotions that colored his perspective.
Only then was she able to approach the situation with more data and less volatility. Once you do that, you’ll feel freer to discuss what would work for both of you.
“Emotional intelligence is when you finally realize it’s not all about you.” – Peter Stark
To be a stellar problem-solver, don’t focus solely on your feelings and goals, but encourage others to share theirs.
Emotional Intelligence is a Skill Set You Can Develop
Emotional intelligence is NOT something you’re born with. It’s something you develop with each situation you face.
“While it is true that some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, a high EQ can be developed even if you aren’t born with it.” – Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0
Do you really want your emotions dragging us to places we don’t want to go? Learning a few key skills to identify and manage emotions, or gaining emotional intelligence, can escalate your success.
Here are some excellent resources that can help you understand and grow in your EQ.
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Golman
- The Other Kind of Smart: Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success – Harvey Deutschendorf
- The Emotional Intelligence Quiz
- Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: are EQ and Emotional Intelligence the Best Predictors of Success?